- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
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- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Yesterday Mayor Nutter announced his doomsday budget plan (details to be found at City Paper). This is basically the budget PICA will make the city adopt if something does not change in Harrisburg soon (the state legislature is holding up a change in the sales tax law that the city is relying on to generate revenue for FY 10).
The cuts proposed are draconian. And it is easy to read them as hysterical. Ben Waxman has a post about this today at It's Our Money where he says:
I have seen a number of comments on this blog and others accusing the mayor of resorting to scare tactics. Here is the rationale: Mayor Nutter is intentionally laying off cops and firefighters to get people upset and put pressure on the state legislature. He could easily cut other areas-- health centers, libraries, and recreation programs-- to make up the budget deficit.
There is just one problem with that logic: it's completely wrong. Spending on public safety-- police, fire, and prisons-- dwarfs every other part of city government. About 29% of the city's $4 billion budget goes to these costs. If the city is forced to cut $700 million from the budget, most of it will have to come from the areas where the money is. There simply isn't enough cash in the other departments to make up the budget deficit.
Ben's right about the numbers. If we want a balanced budget absent the revenue raising schemes that require Harrisburg approval, we need to make a lot of these cuts. But the Mayor had a press conference because he wanted a chance to publicly enumerate the cots of cuts to the city. That was intended to get some phones ringing in state legislative offices.
And that's a good thing. All of these headlines will help get this process moving.
If there is any reason to be critical though it'd be the fact that the revenue agreement the Mayor and Council reached in the first place was predicated upon state action. It's not like we didn't know things would be tough in Harrisburg. The alternatives--raising property or wage taxes--came with other political risks that most members of Council and the Mayor weren't willing to take. But still.